Irish hockey umpire, Carole Metchette, was notified of her appointment as umpire to the Beijing Olympics, 2008. This is a huge honour not only for Metchette but also for Irish Hockey as this is the first time Ireland has ever had a female hockey umpire appointed to the Olympics.
Dublin born Metchette had a good introduction to hockey when she attended Wesley College where she won the school treble, the ESB Kate Russell All Ireland Schools Championship, Leinster Schools League and Leinster Schools Cup. Metchette, primarily a left back, represented her province Leinster at all levels and played her club hockey with Old Alexandra where she won two ESB Irish Senior Cups, 1988 and 1991. She also won numerous league and cup titles during her playing career with Old Alex.
Metchette started umpiring in a rather casual manner ÔÇ£If the club was stuck I would just go out and help them by umpiring on a Saturday after my own gameÔÇØ she commented. When she retired as a player herself in 2002 Metchette started to umpire on a more regular basis and was appointed at a domestic level to umpire at numerous Cup Semi finals and Finals. Her first international appointment came in 2002 when she was appointed to the U18 Europeans in Rotterdam where she really got a taste for umpiring ÔÇ£it was such a fantastic tournament, it really was enjoyableÔÇØ.
Since then Metchette has been appointed by the EuroHockey Federation and International Hockey Federation to numerous tournaments all over the world while continuing to umpire at a domestic level. Among numerous high profile events these included the 2005 Junior World Cup in Chile and the recent EuroHockey Nations Championship in Manchester.
Commenting on her appointment she was obviously thrilled, ÔÇ£I was speechless when I got the notification it is such a huge honour to be appointed to umpire at the Olympics and I am both thrilled and proudÔÇØ.
The next few months look set to be busy for this married mother of two. In March she is off to Paris to umpire at the EuroHockey Cup Winners Cup and then in April she is heading out to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Baku, all before what will no doubt be a busy summer.
Last year Carole Metchette was also recognised for her excellent umpiring skills when she received the Umpire of the Year Award at the ESB Dawson Travel Irish Hockey Awards. Ireland's Ray O'Connor who was Ireland's first male umpire to be appointed to the Olympics will also travel to Beijing as the Men's Umpires' Manager.
Source: Irish Hockey Association